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June 01, 2005

Blair's Final Chance on Inquiry

News about Ireland & the Irish

BB 06/01/05 Blair's 'Final Chance' On Inquiry
SF 06/01/05 SF Urges Govt To Bring Brits To Court Over Bombings
IE 06/01/05 McDowell, McGuinness In D.C. For Talks
BT 06/01/05 Derry March May Put SF In The Dock
BT 06/01/05 Team Of Marshalls Trained For The Marching Season
BB 06/01/05 Review Sought Over Asbestos Plans
IT 06/02/05 Resounding No From Dutch To EU Treaty
SF 06/01/05 Dutch 'No' Puts Another Nail In The Coffin
IT 06/02/05 McCartneys 'Cautiously Optimistic' After Two Arrested
SM 06/01/05 Charles Pays Tribute To The RUC
SF 06/01/05 Bugging Device To Go On Display In SF Bookshop
BB 06/01/05 Teenager Receives Bravery Award


Blair's 'Final Chance' On Inquiry

The Irish government is to give Tony Blair a final chance to aid an
inquiry into the Dublin and Monaghan bombings, Irish premier Bertie
Ahern has said.

Mr Ahern said he may take a case to the European Court of Human Rights
if Mr Blair does not hand over British government files on the 1974

The UVF was suspected of carrying out the attacks which killed 33
people. No-one was convicted of the bombings.

Mr Ahern said he advised Mr Blair of his position before the

"It's a new government and I suppose we should give it one more
effort," Mr Ahern told the Dail in Dublin.

"If we do not go anywhere, we should look at the European Court of
Human Rights."

Mr Ahern added: "I will resume the campaign with the new Secretary of
State Peter Hain... and with the Prime Minister Blair and I hope to do
that sometime this month."

An Oireachtas parliamentary committee recommended in February that the
Irish government should help victims' families to seek justice at the
European Court of Human Rights.

'Action needed'

The Justice for the Forgotten group which represents victims' families
welcomed Mr Ahern's pledge on Wednesday.

Solicitor for the group Greg O'Neill said the families had already
filed complaints with the Strasbourg-based court.

"We welcome Mr Ahern's comments but, if we don't act quickly, the
delay could prejudice our cases."

Mr O'Neill also called for financial support from the Irish government
to help the families fight their cases.

Sinn Fein's Caoimhghin O Caolain warned that further delays could
hamper success in any court action.

Labour party leader Pat Rabbitte said that victims' families deserved
answers on the issue after ore than 30 years of waiting.

It has been alleged that the bombings were carried out by loyalist
paramilitaries with British government intelligence.

The Irish government announced in April that it was to establish a
commission of investigation to examine the bombings, focussing on
specific aspects of the Irish police investigation at the time.

It will also examine why the garda inquiry was wound down in 1974 and
why specific leads were not followed up.

The commission will be chaired by Patrick MacEntee, one of the Irish
Republic's leading barristers, who has been asked to report back to
Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern within six months.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/06/01 17:21:16 GMT


Ó Caoláin Urges Government To Bring British To Court Over Dublin-
Monaghan Bombings

Published: 1 June, 2005

Sinn Féin Dáil leader, Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has urged the Taoiseach
to bring a case against the British Government to the European Court
of Human Rights as a matter of urgency over their refusal to establish
an enquiry into the Dublin-Monaghan bombings. Deputy Ó Caoláin said,
"There is a concern within Justice for the Forgotten regarding time
restrictions which may close this avenue unless the project is pursued
with some haste."

Speaking in Dublin today he said, "On the last occasion the Taoiseach
was pessimistic in his answers to the Dáil on how far he had got, and
how far he expected to get, with the British government in seeking the
truth about collusion.

"It is totally unacceptable that the British government and all its
agencies continue to stonewall the Irish people on the question of its
true role in the conflict. It is not acceptable that a year after the
Oireachtas Committee issued its report and recommended that the
British establish an inquiry into the Dublin & Monaghan bombings
nothing has been done by the British government, from Tony Blair down.

"Therefore, given the refusal of the British to establish an inquiry,
I would urge Government to now take the next step as recommended by
Oireachtas Committee and bring a case against the British Government
to the European Court of Human Rights on behalf of the bereaved and
the survivors of Dublin and Monaghan.

"There is a concern within Justice for the Forgotten regarding time
restrictions which may close this avenue unless the project is pursued
with some haste." ENDS


McDowell, McGuinness In D.C. For Talks

By Susan Falvella Garraty

Irish Justice Minister Michael McDowell hinted at warmer relations
with Sinn Fein when he met with U.S. special envoy, Ambassador
Mitchell Reiss last Thursday

"In our talks, the minister was much more upbeat and hopeful about the
peace process," said Ambassador Reiss in an interview after the
meeting at William and Mary College, in Williamsburg, Virginia, where
Reiss is a provost.

He said both he and the McDowell were optimistic about prospects for
restarting talks before autumn.

Minister McDowell has been one of the leading critics of Sinn Fein and
previously opposed meeting with Sinn Fein following the Robert
McCartney murder and the Northern Bank heist in Belfast which was
widely attributed to the IRA.

Reiss said there has been some positive movement in the peace process.
He noted that such leaders in the DUP as MPs Gregory Campbell and
Nigel Dodds both accepted the results released by the Independent
Monitoring Commission's report.

"When the time comes for the IMC to verify any future weapons
disarmament by IRA, it is good to know the DUP will receive the IMC
reports confident in the report's accuracy," said Reiss.

Also in the U.S. last week was chief Sinn Fein negotiator, Martin

McGuinness, who met with members of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Sinn Fein's representative to the US, Rita O'Hare, was denied a visa
to accompany McGuinness but Ambassador Reiss stressed that the denial
was not indicative of a policy change by the Bush administration
towards Sinn Fein.

"I voted in favor of giving her the visa, but there are other
government agencies involved in the process, and it was decided to
deny her the visa," he said.

Those agencies include the State Department, the FBI and the
Department of Homeland Security. O'Hare made an unscheduled stop in
Florida and was accompanied Sinn Fein MLA Gerry Kelly last January.

Neither O'Hare or Kelly had listed a trip to Florida with US officials
on their submitted itineraries which needed to include all of their
destinations when turned in for their visas.

"They did not put in the correct paperwork, and these are the
consequences," said Ambassador Reiss.

He said he did not expect there to be any further action taken against
O'Hare. However, it was likely that Kelly's next visa request would be
denied as well.

Congressman Richard Neal (D-MA) was one of the congressman to meet
with both McGuinness and Ambassador Reiss in the Capitol last week.

Neal said he found both McGuinness and Reiss equally optimistic that
progress would be made and the government would be restarted in the
North with Sinn Fein included.

Ambassador Reiss, meanwhile, also testified last week before a House
International Relations Committee subcommittee that deals with Europe.

Rep. Robert Wexler (D-FL) testified that he had serious concerns over
Northern Ireland's current political fortunes.

"The devolved government has been suspended since 2002, negotiations
remain stalemated and the IRA's commitment to disarmament and non-
violence appears shaky at best," he said and noted in his prepared
remarks the strength of the DUP in the recent UK parliamentary

The chairman of the subcommittee, Rep. Elton Gallegly (R-CA) said he
had additional worries as well over the IRA.

"Another concern of mine is the IRA's links with the FARC in Colombia
and Castro's Cuba," he said.

Rep. Peter King (R-NY) attended the committee hearing and listened to
Ambassador Reiss testify about the contribution of a "criminal
culture" in the North that encourages such acts as the Northern Bank
heist and the Robert McCartney murder.

King said the McCartney murder itself had nothing to do with the
politics or the IRA's philosophical agenda. He said such violence
could have happened in a bar in the U.S.

McCartney was killed January in a pub in Belfast. Since the murder,
several members of Sinn Fein have left the party over the killing,
which many people maintain was carried out by senior members of the

This story appeared in the issue of June 1 - 7, 2005


Derry March May Put SF In The Dock

By Brendan McDaid
01 June 2005

A number of the North West's most senior republicans - including a
former hunger striker turned Sinn Fein MLA - were today facing
prosecution over an illegal march in Londonderry.

Three Sinn Fein councillors and two former councillors have been
warned by police that they face prosecution following the march in the

The PSNI has confirmed that it was referring those who took part in
the Hunger Striker commemoration parade on March 1 to the Director of
Public Prosecutions.

Among those who were visited by police earlier this week were Sinn
Fein MLA Raymond McCartney and Derry City councillors Peter Anderson,
Billy Page and Gerry MacLochlainn.

Former Sinn Fein MLA, Mary Nelis, and former councillor Barney
O'Hagan, are among other prominent republicans set to be referred to
the DPP.

The issue came to light after Mr McCartney hit out at alleged
"pettiness" by the PSNI.

Mr McCartney said: "Many republicans, including elected
representatives, have been cautioned for attending this parade and
threatened with prosecution.

"This is in stark contrast to how the PSNI forced a large group of
loyalists through the nationalist Ardoyne shops last year, sparking
serious trouble, and how they have dealt with illegal unionist marches
through nationalist areas."

He added: "In Portadown, we saw the absurd situation where an
Orangeman put his car across the road and the PSNI refused to move it,
allowing for an Orange parade to go into an area where the Parades
Commission stated they should have no access."

Mr McCartney said the Derry parade was not contentious as it walked
from the Guildhall to the Hunger Strike Monument in Rossville Street
and took less than 15 minutes to pass.

"At a time when areas are being terrorised by car criminals and our
schools are being destroyed by vandals, it seems that the PSNI feel
that it is better to spend their resources tracking down republicans
to caution them about a parade no-one complained about.

"This was the tactics of the RUC who dedicated themselves to harassing
republicans instead of providing a policing service to the whole
community, and it seems the PSNI are following on from where the RUC
left off," he said.

A spokesman for the Foyle PSNI hit back, saying that proper
notification had not been given before the march was staged.

He confirmed: "This was an illegal parade and unfortunately on this
occasion the notification required to hold a parade was not received.

"The matter is being investigated and a report is currently being
prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions."


Team Of Marshalls Trained For The Marching Season

By Brendan McDaid
01 June 2005

A new team of marshals have been trained in Londonderry ahead of this
summer's Orange Order and Apprentice Boys marching seasons in

A total of 17 people have now undergone full training for shepherding
marches across the North West.

The training took place at the East Tyrone College of Further and
Higher Education under tutor Ivan Flack.

The marshals will assist the local Grand Orange Lodge, the Apprentice
Boys of Derry and Women's Loyal Orange Lodges.

Spokesman for the Loyal Orders, William Wary, said: "A number of years
ago the Apprentice Boys and Orange Order decided to take the
stewarding of events to another level for the betterment of our
cultural and diverse city.

"Since training began in 1998, results and successes have been seen at
all parades and events organised by the local orders in Londonderry
and the process has gathered momentum.

"At the completion of this current training, all Loyal Orders in the
city now have people fully trained and qualified to steward any

He added: "When an event is being organised it is important that the
marshals take everything into account, so that they are ready to deal
with any situation.

"The training has taught our stewards this and has given them the
ability to deal with most situations.

"It has also taught them to liaise with all sections of the community,
including the public, police and all other emergency services."

Mr Wray said building upon such improvements was now a priority.

"We endeavour to continue to improve community relations within our
city, and further afield, for the benefit of all communities.

"We look forward to working with our newly qualified marshals and wish
them every success at any event they are stewarding."


Review Sought Over Asbestos Plans

Residents opposed to plans for a temporary asbestos storage site
outside Crumlin are to apply for a judicial review to overturn the

The residents will lodge papers for the review on Thursday after
holding a meeting to gauge the level of support for continuing to
oppose the plant.

The meeting, on Wednesday, was attended by South Antrim MP William

It is proposed that asbestos from all over the province will be taken
to the site at Crosshill for dumping.

The government has said the plant will pose no risk to health, and
gave plans for it the green light in March.

The proposal will see double bagged asbestos being transported to
Crosshill by the firm Eastwood Ltd, where it will be stored in steel
containers before it is moved for final disposal.

However, objectors say they are taking the action because they believe
the risk of contamination is too great.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/06/01 21:34:58 GMT


Resounding No From Dutch To EU Treaty

Denis Staunton, in The Hague

Dutch voters have overwhelmingly rejected the EU constitution but
the leaders of the EU's three main institutions said last night that
other member states must continue to ratify the treaty.

The constitution was rejected with 62 per cent voting No, based on a
turnout of 63 per cent of voters. The size of the No victory and the
level of voter participation were both higher than predicted.

Dutch prime minister Jan Peter Balkenende promised to respect the No
vote, although the referendum was not binding on parliament.

"Dutch voters have given a clear signal. It is obvious that we will
respect this outcome completely," he said.

He insisted, however, that other countries should continue to try to
ratify the constitution and decide how to proceed after all member
states have had their say. "We have to know where each country stands
in respect of the constitution."

Within minutes of the Dutch polls closing, the presidents of the
European Commission, the European Parliament and the European Council,
where EU leaders meet, told a joint press conference the ratification
process must go on.

Luxembourg's prime minister, Jean-Claude Juncker, whose country holds
the EU presidency, said he respected the Dutch vote but insisted the
constitution should be debated in all EU countries.

"We want the other member states to have the opportunity to tackle the
same debate. We feel the ratification process should continue," he

The Dutch and French No votes are expected to dominate the Taoiseach's
talks today with Mr Juncker in Luxembourg and with German chancellor
Gerhard Schröder in Berlin.

After two No votes in EU founding member states within three days,
some EU leaders, led by Britain's Tony Blair, believe the process of
ratifying the constitution should be halted.

The Czech Republic yesterday became the first EU country to call for a
postponement of the ratification process beyond the deadline of
November 2006. Czech prime minister Jiri Paroubek, whose country plans
to hold a referendum, said his coalition government had given him a
mandate to ask for an extension at this month's EU summit.

"We feel countries need more time for ratification. It wouldn't be the
first time in the EU's history for this," he said.

The crisis over the constitution dominated yesterday's meeting of the
European Commission during which most commissioners said all member
states should have their say on the treaty.

Commission president José Manuel Barroso urged EU leaders not to take
"unilateral decisions" to stop the ratification process before they
meet in Brussels on June 16th.

Latvia is expected to ratify the constitution in a parliamentary vote
today, bringing to 10 the number of states that have approved it.

Right-wing populist Geert Wilders, one of the most prominent figures
in the Dutch No campaign, was jubilant as the result came in.

"The people of the Netherlands have voted and they must be taken
seriously . . . They don't want a federal Europe," he said.

Mr Schröder expressed regret and warned against allowing the treaty's
problems to become a "general crisis" for Europe.

He called for a restatement of commitment to the "aims and principles"
of European unification.

British foreign secretary Jack Straw said the Dutch rejection raised
profound questions for the EU and that the results should be
respected. He did not say whether Britain still planned to hold a

© The Irish Times


Dutch 'No' Puts Another Nail In The Coffin Of EU Constitution - Mary
Lou McDonald

Published: 1 June, 2005

Sinn Féin National Chairperson and MEP for Dublin Mary Lou McDonald
has tonight said that the result of the Dutch referendum puts another
nail in the coffin of the EU Constitution.

Speaking tonight Ms McDonald said:

"After tonight's decision in the Netherlands, it is clear that those
who are arguing that the EU Constitution project is still on track are
engaged in wishful thinking. What tonight's decision by the Dutch has
done is put another nail in the coffin of the EU Constitution. It has
also given more momentum to the campaigns across the European Union
for its rejection.

"It is now time for EU leaders to listen to the concerns that are
being raised about the lack of democracy, about growing militarisation
and about right wing economic policies.

"The Irish government have stated that they intend to go ahead with
the referendum. Sinn Féin is already up and running in our campaign
opposing the constitution. However, in light of French and Dutch
rejection, it is unclear what the government will be proposing to the
people. The government needs to explain the status of any future
referendum put before the people." ENDS


McCartneys 'Cautiously Optimistic' After Two Arrested

Gerry Moriarty, Northern Editor

Members of the McCartney family have expressed cautious optimism of
a breakthrough in the PSNI investigation into the murder of their
brother, Robert, after two men were arrested yesterday in Britain and
Northern Ireland.

The men were being questioned by detectives last night in Antrim PSNI
station and can be held for 72 hours without charge. One man aged 36
was arrested in Birmingham when armed police burst into his bedsit in
the early hours of yesterday morning.

The second man, aged 49, was arrested in Belfast. Both men are said by
local sources to be from the Markets area of Belfast, close to the
nationalist Short Strand where 33-year-old Robert McCartney lived with
his partner Bridgeen and two children.

The sources said the two men arrested were alleged to be centrally
involved in the fatal stabbing of Mr McCartney outside Magennis's pub
in Belfast on January 30th and in the wounding of Brendan Devine.

Both men were previously questioned and released without charge. What
makes this arrest significant is that to detain suspects for a second
time police must have additional grounds.

The PSNI confirmed two arrests but gave no other details. One of the
problems facing investigating detectives was that some of those
involved in the killing attempted to clean the area around Magennis's
of forensic evidence.

They also stole CCTV film that might have revealed how Mr McCartney
was killed and who killed him. A number of IRA members were involved
in the killing and the subsequent destruction of evidence, although
the IRA did not officially sanction the murder.

Another well-placed local source told The Irish Times yesterday that,
notwithstanding this "cleaning" operation, police told him they had
some forensic evidence from the scene. They also had CCTV film taken
from the nearby law courts.

In all, 14 people have been arrested in connection with the murder.
About six people were arrested shortly after the murder but not

Thereafter, following appeals from Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams,
six people were arrested after they voluntarily went to the police
with their solicitors. A number of republicans were also expelled and
suspended respectively from the IRA and Sinn Féin.

None of those who went voluntarily to the police were charged.
Security sources said none of those arrested provided any useful
evidence to identify the killers. The McCartneys also complained that
some of those who went to the police were engaging in a charade as
they "just stared at the walls and did not tell police anything".

However, Robert's sister, Paula, said yesterday she now held out some
hope that police could be on the verge of a breakthrough.

"I think what is different this time is that police are being
proactive in going out and arresting people rather than having the
people come to them," she said.

"We have been disappointed before, but still we are cautiously
optimistic that people will be charged this time," she added.

Ms McCartney said the family would maintain their "Justice for Robert"
campaign in Ireland and abroad. Next week members of the family will
meet mayor of London Ken Livingstone.

© The Irish Times


Charles Pays Tribute To The RUC

By Martin Halfpenny, PA

The Prince of Wales today paid tribute to the courage and self
sacrifice of the Royal Ulster Constabulary as he dedicated a room to
the former service at a historic police training centre college.

The Prince was at the police training college in Bramshill, Hampshire
to dedicate a room in honour of the RUC, which was awarded with the
George Cross by the Queen in 2000 in recognition of the bravery of its
officers and their families.

At a reception attended by 200 people connected with the RUC, now The
Police Service of Northern Ireland, Charles unveiled the dedication
plaque and said: "This room will be a constant reminder of the
extraordinary courage and self sacrifice of those who have served in
the RUC.

"We shall never forget the sacrifices made on our behalf."

The Prince is patron of the RUC GC Foundation which will look after
the room. Today is the 83rd anniversary of the formation of the RUC in

During the hour-long visit the Prince also toured the mansion at
Bramshill and planted a tree to mark its 400th anniversary this year.

He also met staff and senior police officers from across the world who
train at Bramshill, which was built by Lord Zouche in 1605.


MI5 Bugging Device To Go On Display In Sinn Féin Bookshop On Thursday

Published: 1 June, 2005

The MI5 bugging device, found in Sinn Féin offices in Belfast in
September 2004, will go on display in the Sinn Féin bookshop in Dublin
tomorrow, Thursday 2nd June at 2.30pm. The shop is located at 44
Parnell Square, Dublin 1.

Sinn Féin TD Sean Crowe will be available to talk to the media in the
bookshop at 2.30pm.

The bug was put up for auction on eBay last week but the had to be
moved to

There has been widespread interest in the auction and the highest bid
to date is $6,000. Bidding will end on Saturday 4th at midnight Irish


Teenager Receives Bravery Award

A County Down teenager who desperately tried in vain to save his
friend from drowning has been presented with a bravery award.

David Hackett received the Royal Humane Society award for trying to
save his friend Jordan Murdock after he fell into Killough harbour in
January 2004.

Members of the Murdock family attended Wednesday's ceremony in

Twelve-year-old David, who had jumped into the water to try to rescue
Jordan, was pulled to safety by his family.

He managed to grab the 14-year-old's hand, but the boys were separated
by a large wave.

Hundreds of volunteers combed the shoreline for any trace of the
teenager in the days and weeks following the tragedy.

Coastguard vessels from Newcastle and Ardglass, a lifeboat from
Portaferry and a rescue helicopter from Dublin took part in the search
for the teenager.

Search co-ordinator Richard Newell said it was one of the largest
search operations launched in Northern Ireland in recent times.

The 14-year-old's body was found washed up on a nearby beach three
weeks later by a woman out walking her dog.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2005/06/01 20:58:22 GMT

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